There has been a significant change to the temporary work visas which both workers and employers need to know about.

From November 2021, the Government is introducing a new temporary work visa called the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

What’s changing and why?

The Accredited Employer Work Visa will replace these 6 current work visas:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

The idea is to simplify the application process, making it easier for employers to fill genuine skill shortages in the market.

The changes will combat migrant exploitation by strengthening requirements on employers and is also important for encouraging employers to focus on training and upskilling New Zealanders.

What it means for employers

Employers will need to be accredited before they can hire a migrant on an Accredited Employer Work Visa.

This means they need to register with the Government to be eligible, apply for a job check to ensure the role can not be done by a New Zealander, and the employer needs to request the migrant apply for a visa.

What it means for workers

The new visa process is led by the employer offering the job, but the migrant worker will need to apply for the visa themselves in the final step of the process.

Your potential employer must complete the employer accreditation and job check before you apply for a work visa

If you have a current temporary work visa you will not be affected as long as you are meeting your visa conditions and your visa remains valid.

If you have a Residence from Work visa application underway (requiring a further Work to Residence visa to be granted residence), you will be able to continue this process if you remain with your employer.

The new system has 3 checks

The AEWV system will introduce 3 checks before an employer can hire a migrant worker. These checks are:

The Employer check

Only accredited employers can hire migrant workers on the new system.

There are two types of accreditation; standard (for up to 5 employees) and high-volume (for more than 5).

The employer check will replace 3 current employer schemes:

  • Approval in principle (AIP) before an employer hires workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Accreditation as a Talent Accredited Employer, and
  • Labour Hire employers' accreditation for essential skills works visas.

Job check

The job check will look into the position the worker is applying for, checking it pays the market rate, complies with our employment laws, and that you as an employer have done everything you can to find a New Zealander to fill the position.

Employers pay for a job check and you can only hire a migrant worker if the job check is passed.

Migrant worker check

The final step in the process, the migrant worker check ensures the applicant meets all character, identity and health requirements, as well as having the skills and experience stipulated as part of the employer’s job check application.

How to become accredited as an employer

Employers only need to be accredited under the new system when they want to start hiring migrants on AEWVs. If a business already employs migrants under the current skilled work visa, then they don’t need to become accredited until they want to hire someone on the new visa.

You can apply for accreditation from September 2021, two months before the new system starts, but again, you don’t need to apply for it if you have no intention of hiring yet.

More information as it comes through

It’s important that employers feel well-informed ahead of the changes being introduced, and with details still to be ironed out, it’s worth checking the Government’s official website for the latest developments.

You can find the latest up-to-date information here: